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El Nino threatens more food price volatility, Louis Dreyfus says

European commodities merchant engages startups to address Asia's food insecurity

Agricultural commodities trader Louis Dreyfus is working with smallholder farmer partners on a range of sustainability projects, such as one pictured here with coffee farmers in Indonesia. (Photo courtesy of Louis Dreyfus Co.)

JAKARTA -- Global food prices are expected to stay volatile this year, with the forecast return of the El Nino weather phenomenon adding to uncertainties from the war in Ukraine and China's economic reopening, a Singapore-based regional executive with European agricultural commodities trader Louis Dreyfus Co. (LDC) told Nikkei Asia.

Global food prices have calmed in recent months after what the Food and Agriculture Organization called "two very volatile years" in 2021-22. Prices of wheat and corn and the average value of vegetable oils hit record highs last year after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine in February. But they have been on a declining trend, the FAO said last month, after Moscow agreed to unblock Ukrainian grain exports in an agreement signed in July.

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